Hark, A Christmas Concert

Carl Robinette

Fri November 22, 2013 1:49pm

For more than 40 years they have been wowing audiences with their music despite their young age, or perhaps because of it. Whichever the case maybe, the All-American Boys Chorus is critically acclaimed around the world and they will be performing locally at the Mater Dei High School Christmas concert in December.
“We had them last year and the result was just magnificent,” said Gerriss Klant, event coordinator for the Dr. Estelle L. Kassebaum Memorial Scholarship Program, which sponsored the event. “People left thinking, ok now it’s Christmas.  You just left feeling completely inspired and filled with Christmas spirit. So we decided to invite them back.”
The show will also feature Mater Dei’s own concert choir, a drum band, a tree lighting and more. Established in 2007, Mater Dei sees the performance as more than just a concert but as a show with the potential to become a favorite event in the community.
“We’ve really been able to get quite a few students involved and turn it into more of a festival than just a concert,” Klant said. “Our hope is to turn it into the place-to-be for getting Christmas started in Eastlake and the South Bay.”
Concert-goers can expect to see the boys chorus raise the holiday spirit with classic Christmas songs from the more spiritual “Silent Night” to more lively favorites like “Sleigh Ride.”
“The thing about Christmas that a lot of people love is that it reminds them of past Christmases and childhood memories. It’s very nostalgic,” said Anthony Manrique, executive director of the boys chorus. “So we tend to do the songs that bring people back. We do a lot of very traditional music, and we have some fun with the audience on songs like ‘Jingle Bell Rock.’ ”
Based in Orange County, the chorus performs all year and all over the world with all of the members younger than age 15, some starting younger than 9. The organization teaches everything from reading music to voice control.
Christmas and boys choirs have historically gone hand in hand as Christmas music tends to have a spiritual element with a strong emphasis on childhood, said Manrique.
“It’s a unique pure sound and unique pure tone. And usually around Christmas time people are feeling that way,” he added.


Correction: An earlier version of this story described Gerriss Klant as the event coordinator for Mater Dei Catholic High School. Klant is the event coordinator for the Dr. Estelle L. Kassebaum Memorial Scholarship Program. We regret the error.